|Wildlife at Aviemore, Scotland|
Our pilot was clearly anxious to be off and perhaps slightly irritated at those clogging up the boarding process by slowly removing and stowing the entire contents of their home wardrobe which they are wearing in order to avoid paying for checked baggage. It's a bit like a lengthy strip show performed by a chorus line of not particularly attractive people - thankfully they stop whilst still wearing a couple of layers. As our pilot reminded us, we were lucky to be flying. Many flights to France had been cancelled.
The train disruption is apparently ongoing. We read in the English language newspaper 'Connexion' that the rail employees are attempting to retain their generous conditions including retiremnent at 50 for drivers (55 for everyone else) and free rail travel for them and their families. Our journey to Briare was without major problem this time though. The one hiccup being the dreaded automatic doors of the metro. We were changing trains at the busy Gare de Lyon and had to wait for a large number of people to disembark. I don't know whether the driver just shuts the door and sets off after a certain length of time in order to keep to a schedule but they certainly don't hang around for everyone to get on safely. The alloted time was apparently up just as everyone began to get on - leaving one of us on the platform and the other on the inside of the train along with the handle of a pull along suitcase whilst the case itself hung from the outside. Fortunately, the doors reopened briefly (perhaps they respond to loud swearing) and we, along with our possesions, managed to make it aboard.
Our trip to Scotland had been made early this year due to unexpected and somewhat unhappy circumstances but we had a lovely time visiting family. We managed a brief trip up the West Coast and a few days in the Highlands as well as a day out at the marvellous Royal Highland Show in Edinburgh. 2 weeks in Scotland is never enough (how long would be enough I wonder?) so we hope to return later on. There is an important referendum taking place in September which is generating much discussion in Scotland and indeed London seems to have suddenly remembered there is this other nation somewhere in the far north to which they might do well to pay attention - up until mid September anyway.
|Going up-the funicular railway in the Cairngorms|
In the meantime we are once again onboard L'Avenir. Jeremie, the French mechanic from Chatillon, has assured us that our water pump is repaired and he will bring it to us this evening. Meanwhile, the resident engineer can be heard cursing from the bowels of the boat as he does the preparation for refitting the pump. I can tell from the blue tinged air (and it's not from burning oil) that he does not rate highly the engineering skills of those who originally put this engine together...